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Don’t take a summer break from safety

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 10:50 am

Teens are bound to be excited to leave backpacks and books behind for carefree summer fun. However, if your teen’s summer includes driving or riding with a teen driver, there are a few things to consider.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers. More than 150 teens lost their lives on Arizona roads from 2007 to 2011. Teens drive more often with less supervision during the summer than during the school year. This makes May through August the most dangerous months on the road for teen drivers.

AAA Insurance suggests the following tips to keep teens safe this summer and throughout the year:

• Eliminate trips without purpose. Based on number of miles driven, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. Their crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Limit driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.

• Limit passengers. Fatal crash rates for 16 to 19 year olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present. Riding in a vehicle with a teen driver also can be risky for teen passengers. Establish passenger limits and restrict teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver.

• Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late-night hours, yet they should consider limiting evening driving as well. More than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

• Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more.

• Enroll teens in summer driving school. Summer is the perfect opportunity for teens to brush up on their driving skills.

• Use driving training tools.

Parents of teens who are approaching driving age should consider attending AAA’s Permit Prep 101. This free workshop prepares teens for their written permit test and educates families on what they need to know before their new driver takes the wheel. 

• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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